Ethan Couch did a horrible thing. When he was 16 years old, he got drunk, loaded his friends in his truck, and drove recklessly down a dark, two-lane road. Not far from his house, Ethan lost control of his truck. He hit one vehicle, and then another, which hit another. Four people died. When police arrived, one deputy remarked that the stretch of road looked, “more like a plane crash than a car wreck.”
The story made national headlines — for an unexpected reason. During Ethan’s sentencing, psychologist Dick Miller contended that Ethan grew up in an environment with no consequences. His family had money, and money meant that you made your own rules. In other words, Ethan was a victim of his own privilege. It was the affluenza defense, and it infuriated the nation.
Then Brandi tells us about the con to beat all cons. In the post-9/11 world, the United States Navy Veterans Association prospered. They brought in millions upon millions of dollars in donations. The money couldn’t have gone to a better cause. People jumped at the chance to help the nation’s veterans. But in 2010, a reporter from the St. Petersburg Times looked into the organization. He was shocked by what he discovered.
And now for a note about our process. For each episode, Kristin reads a bunch of articles, then spits them back out in her very limited vocabulary. Brandi copies and pastes from the best sources on the web. And sometimes Wikipedia. (No shade, Wikipedia. We love you.) We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the real experts who covered these cases.
In this episode, Kristin pulled from:
“The worst parents ever,” by Michael J. Mooney, D Magazine
“Ethan Couch, affluenza sufferer, has been sentenced to two years in jail,” Texas Monthly
“Teen sentenced to 10 years probation, rehab in 4 deaths,” Star-Telegram
“Ethan Couch, the affluenza teen, has disappeared with his mother and has possibly fled the country,” Texas Monthly
“Teenager’s sentence in fatal drunken-driving case stirs affluenza debate,” New York Times
“Ethan Couch,” Wikipedia
“Affluenza mom Tonya Couch back in jail after authorities say she used meth,” Dallas News
“Fred Couch, father of ‘affluenza teen,’ goes to trial,” Star-Telegram
In this episode, Brandi pulled from:
“The Strange, Spectacular Con of Bobby Charles Thompson” by Daniel Fromson, The Washingtonian
“Mystery Man Bobby Thompson blames CIA for bogus charity” by John Martin, Tampa Bay Times
“Money Stolen by Infamous Con Man ‘Bobby Thompson’ Finally Goes to Vets” by Matthew Mosk, ABC News
“United States Navy Veterans Association” wikipedia.org